Security Message for U.S. Citizens: State of Emergency

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa informs U.S. citizens that the Government of Ethiopia declared a State of Emergency retroactively effective October 8, 2016.  A decree implementing the State of Emergency was published on the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front website on October 16.

The decree prohibits a number of activities and provides for individuals to be arrested and detained without a court order. The activities prohibited by the decree include, but are not limited to:

  • Agitation and communication that could incite violence and unrest including messages through internet, phone, text, social media and radio.
  • Listening to, watching, or reporting information from certain media outlets.
  • Attending unauthorized gatherings or protests.
  • Engaging with foreign governments or non-government organizations in a way that threatens national security.
  • Violating curfews that may or may not be publicly announced.

As a result, U.S. Citizens could be arrested for activities they would otherwise consider routine.   U.S. citizens should be aware that the decree also requires landlords to report tenants’ identities to police, with a copy of their passport if the renter is a foreign national.  In addition, the decree restricts U.S. and other foreign diplomats from traveling 40 kilometers outside of Addis Ababa, which severely affects the ability of the Consular Section to assist U.S. citizens.

The full text of the decree implementing the State of Emergency is available in Amharic, with an unofficial translation in English, on the U.S. Embassy’s website,

For further information: